kraeblossom got a reaction from TalkPoliticsToMe in Ford MPP for free or HKS in a year?
Hi all! Would love perspectives on my MPP dilemma: I'm incredibly grateful to have received a full scholarship and cost of living stipend to attend the Ford School at UMichigan beginning in Fall 2019. I love the program, their research centers, and their social policy curriculum.
I've also been offered "conditional deferred admission" to the Kennedy School to begin in 2020, provided I take another round of college-level econ and stats to boost my quant skills before attending (low GRE quant probably did not inspire confidence on the part of the admissions committee...). There's no indication of funding, and their request also means that I'd need to factor in the cost of these courses over the next year.
I fully realize how fortunate I am to have this dilemma in the first place. Michigan is the obvious choice, but it's hard to turn down the opportunity to attend my dream school. Other options include Brandeis Heller (full scholarship), Syracuse Maxwell (no funding info yet) and Brown Watson (partial funding.)
kraeblossom got a reaction from lolo94 in Decision time: share your dilemma
@lolo94 I'm in a similar boat! The appeal of the HKS brand and network just feels so hard to ignore. It doesn't help that I've heard mixed advice from HKS alumni -- one telling me it's a "lifelong ticket," another reinforcing that the program is great but "I'll be paying for it forever," and finally, one telling me it is absolutely the right choice to take my money and run (an unexpected full ride to Ford!) But one thing she said may also help -- that there are creative ways to connect to the HKS community and alums without being a student, if you happen to have connections to graduates or current students. Food for thought.
Would love to see how this plays out for you and your thought process. Best of luck!
kraeblossom reacted to acerbicb in Decision time: share your dilemma
Carnegie Mellon Heinz: MSPPM - Pittsburgh (Full Tuition + $6k Stipend) University of Michigan Ford: MPP - Policy Analysis (Full Tuition + $20k Stipend) I will be sending Heinz the offer from Ford to see whether they’d be willing to match. Pittsburgh is substantially cheaper than Ann Arbor… though less accessible without a car (I don’t drive).
There are several factors pulling me towards either school — or deferring either offer for a year.
(1) Research vs. Consulting
After 5 years of development and fundraising/program coordination in the nonprofit field, I bring my curiosity and project management skills in a new, more interesting line of work… that pays better. To this end, I want to leverage an MPP/MSPPM to enter research (e.g. Mathematica, Urban Labs) or public sector strategic consulting (e.g. IBM, McKinsey, Deloitte).
Ford seems like it has stronger connections to the policy research community, especially given in-house institutions. However, I know that McKinsey, IBM, and Deloitte all offer interviews on-site at Heinz and have been recruiting with increasing severity in the past few years. Ford is obviously offering me more money up front… but can I leverage the connections and education at Ford to secure a consulting gig immediately after graduation?
I am torn! These two fields seem so disparate to me, like if I do one for a few years I won’t be able to return and do the other. 😞
(2) Curriculum and Analytic Rigor
I went to art school and studied what is basically low calorie, Marxist, theoretical sociology — I read a lot of continental philosophy and wrote a meandering thesis. I really want a degree that’s gonna kick me in the ass, but provide the resources to close the analytic/management skill gap. If I do research, I want to be able to work alongside analysts who have been doing this since undergrad, who went to Harvards and Princetons. If I do consulting, I want to be able to analyze, synthesize, and translate data to manage organizational changes and inform management decisions.
Operations research/management science, data analytics (e.g. competency in SAS, Python, R, and machine learning), and quantitative analysis (e.g. econometrics, statistical analysis) feel very important to this end. I know that Heinz’ curriculum provides these “straight-out-of-the-box” as part of their core curriculum. Moreover, each Heinz alumni I've interviewed has spoken to how academically challenging Heinz was. Can Ford match them, blow for blow? How difficult would that be to do? Will the difference in training result in different employment opportunities in the long run, given my stated interests?
(3) Money and Deferment
I am paying off several thousands of dollars in tax debt, medical bills, and academic bills with a upper-lower class salary. I have chronic illnesses that I’m working to get in order. I don’t have a network that can provide consistent financial support (though I am considering a go-fund-me to cover relocation costs). I wonder if deferring these offers for a year would be the best course of action.
If I manage to hold down my job, I would be able to pay off my debts within the year. I would be able to get treated for the aforementioned illnesses. I would be able to amass some savings. Lastly, I would be able to take some quant courses so that I won’t have to be taking calculus or basic stats in the course of the program… I’d very much like to put my money/time towards acquiring more specialized skills.
Money is also another reason to lean towards Ford... that's a 14k difference. Heinz is located in a more affordable city, but they want me to move a month earlier for Math Camp (without sponsorship), they don't have any computer labs, and I don't know anyone at Heinz. (At Ford I know a few students, faculty, and staff, as I've stayed there a couple months for a fellowship).
How I’m leaning
Like I said, I’m torn! Severed! Frayed! These are my top two choices. I am leaning towards deferment out of stress and financial insecurity. In terms of schools, I was leaning towards Heinz… but the offer from Ford is very heartening. I think that Heinz is providing the skills I want explicitly, has a connection to the consulting world that is more documented and present than Ford.
kraeblossom reacted to TalkPoliticsToMe in Decision time: share your dilemma
Coming from: New England (Boston) but have lived in the Midwest, Pacific Northwest, and Alabama (family moved a lot).
Duke University (Sanford), MPP - 50% tuition
University of Michigan (Ford), MPP - Full tuition + fees, $20K yearly stipend
Accepted into UNC Kenan-Flagler MBA program with full funding. They have a partnership with Duke so I would be able to complete a joint MBA/MPP program. I was waitlisted at Michigan's MBA program with no guarantee of funding. My ultimate goal is to work in a role that combines my passions for communicating and creating engaging content, politics, and history to influence permanent societal change. I have also asked Duke if they can match my Michigan funding offer; not sure how realistic it is they will say yes.
I intend to focus my studies on health / healthcare - areas in which both programs are strong. I prefer a program that emphasizes practical application (which both seem to do?) vs theory. I am also trying to reduce the amount of debt I graduate with.
How I'm leaning:
Previously was all-in for Ford (especially with such an attractive funding offer, one that I was absolutely NOT expecting). However, Duke has been very high touch and personalized. I've received multiple emails from them from their Director of Admissions, Dean of Career Services, a professor, and contacted by their Student Ambassadors. Ford has been a lot more quiet - although they have been super responsive when I have emailed them directly with questions. I'm not sure if the difference in communication style is due to the difference in class size (Ford cohort is twice as large as Duke's) and style (Duke being a private institution vs. Ford being public).
I also know if I attend Michigan I would have access to all their department courses (interdisciplinary study is highly encouraged) and centers of excellence, such as the Sanger Institute that hosts Crisis Simulations (would be helpful from a PR perspective when negative publicity blows up in any situation) and additional Leadership Development programs. Not to say that I could not do this at Duke but it is a fairly newer phenomenon at Duke.
Am I reading too much into Duke's communication style vs. Ford? Should Duke match my Michigan offer, what is the best way to proceed? I realize I very blessed to be in this position, but I am super torn between both programs.